Quality Improvement Initiative for Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Reduces 90-Day Mortality: A 7.5-Year Observational Study* : Critical Care Medicine

Journal Logo

Clinical Investigations

Quality Improvement Initiative for Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Reduces 90-Day Mortality: A 7.5-Year Observational Study*

Scheer, Christian S. MD1; Fuchs, Christian MD1; Kuhn, Sven-Olaf MD1; Vollmer, Marcus MSM2; Rehberg, Sebastian MD, PhD1; Friesecke, Sigrun MD3; Abel, Peter MD3; Balau, Veronika MD4; Bandt, Christoph PhD2; Meissner, Konrad MD, PhD1; Hahnenkamp, Klaus MD, PhD1; Gründling, Matthias MD1

Author Information
Critical Care Medicine 45(2):p 241-252, February 2017. | DOI: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000002069



To investigate the impact of a quality improvement initiative for severe sepsis and septic shock focused on the resuscitation bundle on 90-day mortality. Furthermore, effects on compliance rates for antiinfective therapy within the recommended 1-hour interval are evaluated.


Prospective observational before-after cohort study.


Tertiary university hospital in Germany.


All adult medical and surgical ICU patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.


Implementation of a quality improvement program over 7.5 years.


The primary endpoint was 90-day mortality. Secondary endpoints included ICU and hospital mortality rates and length of stay, time to broad-spectrum antiinfective therapy, and compliance with resuscitation bundle elements.

Main Results: 

A total of 14,115 patients were screened. The incidence of severe sepsis and septic shock was 9.7%. Ninety-day mortality decreased from 64.2% to 45.0% (p < 0.001). Hospital length of stay decreased from 44 to 36 days (p < 0.05). Compliance with resuscitation bundle elements was significantly improved. Antibiotic therapy within the first hour after sepsis onset increased from 48.5% to 74.3% (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed blood cultures before antibiotic therapy (hazard ratio, 0.60–0.84; p < 0.001), adequate calculated antibiotic therapy (hazard ratio, 0.53–0.75; p < 0.001), 1–2 L crystalloids within the first 6 hours (hazard ratio 0.67–0.97; p = 0.025), and greater than or equal to 6 L during the first 24 hours (hazard ratio, 0.64–0.95; p = 0.012) as predictors for improved survival.


The continuous quality improvement initiative focused on the resuscitation bundle was associated with increased compliance and a persistent reduction in 90-day mortality over a 7.5-year period. Based on the observational study design, a causal relationship cannot be proven, and respective limitations need to be considered.

Copyright © 2017 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Full Text Access for Subscribers:

You can read the full text of this article if you:

Access through Ovid